Member of the Bundestag leaves the AfD: Joana Cotar resigns and gradually

MP Cotar has left the party and parliamentary group. She speaks of “permanent bullying” and “corrupt networks” in the AfD.

Politician with dark hair at the lectern of the Bundestag

Expressed severe criticism of AfD leader Chrupalla before the last party congress and has now resigned: Cotar Photo: imago/Future Image

BERLIN taz | Observers had already expected her resignation. Because the member of the Bundestag did not answer any more questions last week and recently deleted the “AfD” from her website and her social media accounts. Now Joana Cotar has finally left: The Hessian MP announced on Monday morning that she had left the party and parliamentary group of the extreme right-wing AfD.

The former Meuthen confidant was one of the biggest critics of the party leadership around Tino Chrupalla and is a former comrade-in-arms of ex-party leader Jörg Meuthen, who also left at the beginning of the year. With his support, Cotar ran as a top candidate against Chrupalla, who was supported by the Volkish wing, before the last federal election and failed. She also had before the party conference in Riesa in June strong public criticism of Chrupalla and was with other supporters with one Palace revolution failed with a bang.

Since then, little has been heard from the supposedly moderate forces of the AfD. Cotar’s resignation is probably one of the last nails in the coffin for the camp of those who play down themselves. When she left, Cotar said that it was not easy for her to take the step after more than ten years in the party – “after all, I helped build the party in Hesse,” says Cotar.

But too many red lines had been crossed: “Be it through pandering to regimes like Russia, China or Iran, through opportunism and constant bullying in the fight for posts and mandates, or through the establishment of corrupt networks in the party.” With reference on her Romanian origin she had repeatedly with the her party’s pro-Putin Russia policy public strangers – recently, individual AfD MPs had completely openly pandered to the Iranian regime.

AfD is itself “old party”

With this step, Cotar draws consequences from permanent internal attacks and for her part follows up again: “Instead of content, it’s mainly about paid mandates and offices,” said Cotar. The “Alternative” has meanwhile become an “old party” itself – the term is used by the AfD to maliciously describe the democratic competition. “In the fight against opponents within the party, constant bullying is the order of the day – encouraged by the top party and its networks,” said Cotar. Decency no longer plays a role in the corrupt networks within the party.

Unlike her former protége Jörg Meuthen, however, Cotar left the party without any reference to right-wing extremism: The problem is not the “extreme right-wing fringe” but “the opportunists who give up their beliefs for mandates, let themselves be bought and tomorrow the opposite represented what they still stand for today,” said Cotar, who herself attracted attention with hate speech on social networks. The member of the Bundestag wanted to keep her mandate despite leaving.

Cotar is not the first member of parliament to throw up in this legislature: after Uwe Witt left the parliamentary group at the beginning of 2022 with references to right-wing extremists “crossing borders”, he was Right-wing extremist Matthias Helferich didn’t even join the group last year. The last time was at the beginning of September with the Saxony-Anhalt MP Robert Farle a backbench kicked out. The Bavarian MP Johannes Huber also left the parliamentary group at the beginning of the year – he was the administrator of a chat group in which, among other things, high-ranking Bavarian AfD members shared their coup and lived out civil war fantasies.

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